When you think of search engine optimization (SEO) tools, a virtual private network (VPN) probably isn’t at the top of your list. After all, VPNs are typically used to browse the internet anonymously. They consist of an encrypted private network through which you can access the internet. You can connect to a VPN, after which you can pull up a web browser. The VPN will provide you with anonymity by concealing your Internet Protocol (IP) address.
You can use a VPN when performing SEO as well. With its ability to encrypt your traffic and conceal your IP address, it’s a useful SEO tool. A VPN can help you perform SEO in several ways
Protect the Backend From Breaches
With a VPN, you can log in to your website’s backend without fear of exposing your credentials to a nefarious Internet Service Provider (ISP). Websites with a content management system (CMS) have a backend. Whether you want to change the design, publish new content or install a new plugin, you’ll have to log in to the backend. Logging in to the backend without a VPN may result in your ISP capturing your credentials and using them to hack your website.
If your website’s backend is breached, its search rankings will probably drop. According to Wordfence, over three-fourths of webmasters say they’ve experienced a loss of organic traffic after becoming the victim of a breach. The hacker may delete or modify your website’s content in a way that discourages search engines from ranking it high.
A VPN won’t prevent all breaches from occurring, but it can protect your website’s backend from ISP-related breaches. It will encrypt your traffic so that your ISP is unable to see what you are doing online. The admin username and password that you enter to log in to your website’s backend will remain hidden from your ISP.
Track Rankings By Geographic Region
A VPN will allow you to track your website’s search rankings by geographic region. Search rankings aren’t universal; they can vary depending on the region in which the search query is performed. If you have a local business website, for instance, you may want it to rank high for relevant online searches performed in the region where it’s located.
It’s difficult to track search rankings by geographic region with conventional SEO tools. You can use Google Search Console to see your website’s average position per keyword, but you can’t use it to track search rankings by geographic region.
If you’re trying to rank high for one or more geographic regions, you should consider using a VPN. Nearly all VPNs allow you to choose from a wide range of servers in different geographic regions. Just choose a server located in a region for which you want to rank. You can then search for your website on Google to see where it ranks for that region.
Avoid Google’s reCAPTCHA
A VPN can help you avoid Google’s reCAPTCHA when performing SEO. As you search for your website on Google, you may encounter a reCAPTCHA. It’s a type of CAPTCHA that requires you to select the appropriate images in a set of images. Over a half-million websites serve reCAPTCHAs to their visitors, according to BuiltWith, and one of these sites is Google.
Google serves reCAPTCHAs to users who perform a lot of searches to ensure that they are real people and not bots. If you continue to search for your website — or if you search for other websites — you’ll eventually encounter these reCAPTCHAs. Completing them is time-consuming, but you can avoid reCAPTCHAs by using a VPN.
Google only serves reCAPTCHAs to users who perform a lot of searches in a short period. But Google tracks search volume by users’ IP addresses. When you connect to a VPN, Google won’t see your IP address, so it won’t know how many searches you’ve recently performed. If you’re tired of being forced to complete reCAPTCHAs, you can use VPN to avoid them.
Bypass IP-Related Restrictions
You can use a VPN to bypass other Internet Protocol (IP)-related restrictions when performing SEO. Many SEO tools and services have limitations for free accounts. Keyword research tools, for example, may allow you to perform a maximum of five to 10 keyword searches per day if you have a free account. To perform additional keyword searches, you’ll have to upgrade to a paid plan.
With a VPN, you can bypass IP-related restrictions such as these. You can use the free versions of SEO tools and services without their typical limitations. As long as you are connected to a VPN, your IP address will be concealed. Providers of SEO tools and services will identify you as a new user.
Ensure Privacy When Spying on Competitors
If you regularly spy on your competitors by visiting their websites, you may want to use a VPN. It will mask your digital identity by concealing your IP address. Maybe you want to see what products or services they offer, or perhaps you want to see what content they’ve published. When spying on competitors, using a VPN is a smart idea.
Spending too much time on a competitor’s website may raise red flags. The competitor may realize that you’re the operator of a competing website, in which case he or she may block your IP address. You won’t be able to visit the competitor’s website if he or she has blocked your IP address. A workaround, though, is to use a VPN.
A VPN won’t prevent competitors from blocking the IP addresses of their visitors, including your IP address. But they won’t see your real IP address. If you visit a competitor’s website while connected to a VPN, the competitor will see a proxy IP address associated with the VPN service.
VPNs offer more than just anonymity; they can help you perform organic SEO. A VPN will protect your website’s backend from breaches, allow you to track search rankings by geographic region, avoid Google’s reCAPTCHA, bypass IP-related restrictions and ensure privacy when spying on competitors.